Gun sales maintained a record pace for a second straight month as people in the United States rushed to arm up amid safety concerns over the growing coronavirus pandemic and the likely nomination by Democrats of the most anti-gun ticket in history.
As in March, when the sweep of the virus shocked the nation, the FBI today said April background checks for gun sales and concealed carry permits hit a new record of 2,911,128 background checks, a surge of 576,879 over April 2019.
March recorded the highest ever number of background checks of 3,740,688, up 1,095,837 over April 2019.
While the numbers do not exactly match gun sales, the background checks give a rough indication of purchases, as some people buy more than one gun at a time, others go through the process to get a concealed carry permit, and some people are rejected.
The industry group Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting does calculate gun sales and found 1,797,910 sold. That included a 71% surge in guns purchased in April 2020 over April 2019. It estimated handgun sales jumped 83%, with 1,085,046 out the door.
It also estimated rifle sales at 560,353, a year-over-year increase of 52%, in a report titled, “U.S. firearms sales: April 2020 unit sales continue drastic COVID-19 related increase.”
So far this year, SAAF said, there have been 7,012,322 gun sales.
The FBI reported that there have been 12,156,985 background checks in the first quarter, already more than all of 2007 — and every year before.
Industry officials said 2020 is on a pace to be the best year ever for gun sales because of the virus and presidential election.